UPDATE: Did you miss this show? Check out nyctaper’s recording here.
When the spotlight glared down on the tinsel-bedecked stage-left podium at Terminal 5 last night, the crowd got very excited. It could only mean that The Decemberists were about to hit the stage and get their first set of randomly selected songs to perform in an unusual lottery concert.
For those in the audience who know Wesley Stace (better known to many by his stage name of John Wesley Harding), we recognized that we were in for a rare treat — a collision of sharp wits. And although Wes said he got the call to play MC for last night’s show just hours before he went on, giving him no time to put any material together, he managed to wing it just fine.
To be honest, I was a little iffy about this show. The Decemberists have a tried-and-true formula for most showss — play the latest album for half the evening and older material for the other half. It’s great for superfans, but it can be a bit predictable at times. But when I realized that last night’s show would break that mold — song titles were pulled from a basket, bingo-style and the band had to play them right away, with no cheating — I decided to take the plunge. I sure am glad I did. It was a unique evening, featuring 15 of the band’s songs and capped off by Mr. Blue Sky, an Electric Light Orchestra cover.
Click through to the jump for lots more photos.
It was a superb mix of songs old and new — one so very new that the band’s mastermind, Colin Meloy, wrote it on the spot, referencing NYC Miracle on the Hudson plane crash and ending with an admission that on his first visit to New York he stole something from the Empire State Building gift shop. We also got The Tain, all 20 minutes of it.